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Thread: String gauge for an OM to Mandocello test?

  1. #1

    Default String gauge for an OM to Mandocello test?

    Iíve been quietly learning from the forums for a couple years and finally think Iíve got a question that hasnít been adequately answered by the search function. I have a Carvalho 305 octave (via Moloney Music, a good experience) and find Iím gravitating to it most for cello repertoire. Iíd like to try mandocello tuning on it instead of transposing or capo and see how it fares with a scale length of 22 1/4. Could someone help me to estimate the gauge I need for the low C while the others slide over a course? I realize Iím likely to get some bad buzz but would like to give it a shot anyway because a shorter scale solution would be far preferable to buying a standard mandocello with my small hands.

  2. #2

    Default Re: String gauge for an OM to Mandocello test?

    The C-string, on a 25-in scale, goes anywhere from the low .060's up to .075. The you can use you current G, D, and A strings. So all you will need to try it out is one pair of strings. More than likely, if you like the results, to get the best performance, you will have to have the string slots in the nut, and maybe in the bridge, cut wider.

    Note: I found that .070 is about the minimum gauge on my Eastman 'cello.

    Another Note: that is a bit of a short scale for a mandocello (many feel that 25" is a bit short). but it might work out for you.

  3. #3

    Default Re: String gauge for an OM to Mandocello test?

    Quote Originally Posted by meow-n-dolin View Post
    The C-string, on a 25-in scale, goes anywhere from the low .060's up to .075. The you can use you current G, D, and A strings. So all you will need to try it out is one pair of strings. More than likely, if you like the results, to get the best performance, you will have to have the string slots in the nut, and maybe in the bridge, cut wider.

    Note: I found that .070 is about the minimum gauge on my Eastman 'cello.

    Another Note: that is a bit of a short scale for a mandocello (many feel that 25" is a bit short). but it might work out for you.
    Thanks for your helpful thoughts. I understand this experiment may be a failure but will try a few different gauges north of .60 and hope for the best.

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  5. #4

    Default Re: String gauge for an OM to Mandocello test?

    Approximately 20 lbs. per string

    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #5

    Default Re: String gauge for an OM to Mandocello test?

    Sorry - 20 lbs. may be too light.

    D'Addario Mandocello Phosphor Bronze, .022 - .074, EJ78 run about 30lbs. per string.

    NOTE DESCRIPTION DIAMETER TENSION LBS

    1st A Phosphor Bronze Wound 0.022 31.1
    2nd D Phosphor Bronze Wound 0.034 32.5
    3rd G Phosphor Bronze Wound 0.048 29.1
    4th C Phosphor Bronze Wound 0.074 29.7

    With your short scale an 80W C may be needed just to keep you from being floppy.

    I'm just plugging numbers into a string tension calculator to try and help. No experience with a mandocello.

    Good luck!

    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #6

    Default Re: String gauge for an OM to Mandocello test?

    Quote Originally Posted by Huck View Post
    Sorry - 20 lbs. may be too light.

    D'Addario Mandocello Phosphor Bronze, .022 - .074, EJ78 run about 30lbs. per string.

    NOTE DESCRIPTION DIAMETER TENSION LBS

    1st A Phosphor Bronze Wound 0.022 31.1
    2nd D Phosphor Bronze Wound 0.034 32.5
    3rd G Phosphor Bronze Wound 0.048 29.1
    4th C Phosphor Bronze Wound 0.074 29.7

    With your short scale an 80W C may be needed just to keep you from being floppy.

    I'm just plugging numbers into a string tension calculator to try and help. No experience with a mandocello.

    Good luck!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mandocello.jpg 
Views:	7 
Size:	27.9 KB 
ID:	183613
    This is super helpful, thanks for running the numbers! I’ve got a bunch of single strings in this ballpark on their way now and will report back in hopes of saving other short scale folks some trial and error.

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  9. #7
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: String gauge for an OM to Mandocello test?

    Quote Originally Posted by meow-n-dolin View Post
    Another Note: that is a bit of a short scale for a mandocello (many feel that 25" is a bit short). but it might work out for you.
    While this is correct, I note that my Suzuki mandocello also has a 22.5" scale and I'm using standard TI mandocello strings without problem. I've tried out the D'Addario J78 mandocello strings in the past (gauges 22, 34, 48, 74), which were fine as far as tension and tone was concerned but I found it difficult to control the buzzing when fretting. The C course will always be a bit weedy at this scale, but you gain better playability compared to a longer scale instrument.

    The bigger issue may be the size of the body cavity, which is likely to be a good deal smaller on the OM than on a genuine mandocello, making the lower notes rather less resonant.

    Martin

  10. #8

    Default Re: String gauge for an OM to Mandocello test?

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Jonas View Post
    While this is correct, I note that my Suzuki mandocello also has a 22.5" scale and I'm using standard TI mandocello strings without problem. I've tried out the D'Addario J78 mandocello strings in the past (gauges 22, 34, 48, 74), which were fine as far as tension and tone was concerned but I found it difficult to control the buzzing when fretting. The C course will always be a bit weedy at this scale, but you gain better playability compared to a longer scale instrument.

    The bigger issue may be the size of the body cavity, which is likely to be a good deal smaller on the OM than on a genuine mandocello, making the lower notes rather less resonant.

    Martin

    "...The C course will always be a bit weedy at this scale, but you gain better playability compared to a longer scale instrument."

    Yes, you are correct. I should have clarified that the relatively short scale might be a problem, specifically, with the C string. I have a tenor guitar, tuned as an OM, with a 22-inch scale, which does just fine.

  11. #9

    Default Re: String gauge for an OM to Mandocello test?

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Jonas View Post
    While this is correct, I note that my Suzuki mandocello also has a 22.5" scale and I'm using standard TI mandocello strings without problem. I've tried out the D'Addario J78 mandocello strings in the past (gauges 22, 34, 48, 74), which were fine as far as tension and tone was concerned but I found it difficult to control the buzzing when fretting. The C course will always be a bit weedy at this scale, but you gain better playability compared to a longer scale instrument.

    The bigger issue may be the size of the body cavity, which is likely to be a good deal smaller on the OM than on a genuine mandocello, making the lower notes rather less resonant.

    Martin
    Thanks for sharing this helpful experience. I was surprised not to find anyone else trying this on a shorter scale length and am glad to hear you've found a good solution for your Suzuki. I'll go for the pricey TI string set next if I can't get the assorted single strings I'm trying first to do the job.

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